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Vice-Presidential Debate: Cheney vs. Edwards

Vice President Dick Cheney and his Democratic challenger, Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, face off Tuesday night for the first and only vice-presidential debate of the 2004 campaign.

Debates between the vice presidential candidates usually aren't considered as crucial as the ones between the candidates at the top of the ticket. But the tight presidential race could place more emphasis on the Cheney-Edwards debate. Polls taken after last Thursday's debate between President Bush and Sen. John Kerry show the Democratic nominee was helped by his performance.

"This is a tied race and everything could make a difference," NPR News Analyst Cokie Roberts says.

"John Edwards has something to prove here. He has to prove that he's a team player, that he was worth picking for the ticket rather than somebody trying to lay his own groundwork for a race in 2008..." Roberts says. "And Dick Cheney has to prove that he is the right man for the job, that all the rumors about dumping him from the ticket were just that, simply rumors."

The 90-minute vice-presidential debate was held at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. President Bush and Sen. John Kerry are scheduled to hold their second debate Friday night at Washington University in St. Louis.

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